The Presbyterian denomination maintains a legacy of establishing colleges and universities and standing with people often disinherited by society. So, in 1964, a small group of Fourth Presbyterian Church members headed to Cabrini-Green to offer tutoring to children in the newly established “projects.”
The commitment to education and literacy expanded and in 1991 gave rise to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which in 2004 was renamed Chicago Lights.
Fourth Presbyterian Church continues to be a vital source of funding and support for Chicago Lights, including providing forty percent of our volunteers and covering a majority of our overhead costs. Because of this partnership, our team of professional staff and over 1,000 dedicated volunteers can continue to build brighter futures for youth and adults who need it most.
Since the inception of Tutoring in 1964, Chicago Lights has served more than 50,000 people. Today, we annually serve more than 4,000 individuals living in under-resourced neighborhoods through mentoring, supportive services, academic enrichment, career development, and arts education.
Students stay engaged each summer through six weeks of academic, arts, and enrichment programming.
Of our students improved or maintained their language arts skills.
Of our students improved or maintained their math skills.
People engage annually with our Urban Farm through educational and economic opportunities, hands-on learning experiences, and access to fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce.
Unique high school students and three young adults with barriers to employment participate in our workforce development program, where they not only learn about urban farming but also resume writing, interviewing techniques, customer service skills, and more.
Pounds of produce were grown and distributed through Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), the Farmstand, and the church market.
More than 1,500 students receive dance instruction at our 5 partner schools to support their academic and personal growth.
Students were enrolled in the four-week Summer Dance Intensive, which enhances technique and increases self-esteem and strength.
More than 1,800 adults receive supportive services each year.
People living on the streets received supplies and resources through our Street Outreach program.
Unique individuals were assigned to a permanent case manager.